Don't worry if you've been too naughty for Santa to bring you anything good, because December is full of great stuff for every geek girl and boy. You won't even have to leave any cookies and milk out to enjoy all the great nerd fun that Denver has in store for you this month, from weird horror to hard science. Here, in chronological order, are Denver's ten best geek events in December.
10) Cary Elwes: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride There aren't a lot of great geek romances out there, and that makes The Princess Bride a special film in the hearts of romantic nerds everywhere. And none other than Westley himself is in town to discuss and sign his memoir As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride. What geek worth his salt wouldn't want to meet the Dread Pirate Roberts, even if he'll probably be a little too busy to challenge to a swordfight, feat of strength or battle of wits? You'll have to make do with him signing your book, and maybe throwing an "As you wish" your way.
Elwes will appear at 7 p.m. Monday, December 1 at the Tattered Cover Colfax. Tickets for the signing line are free with purchase of the book As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride ($26), and open seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Yes, it will be insane, so plan to come early if your life won't be complete without being there. For more information, visit the Tattered Cover website.9) Cruel Autumn: Possession
The end of a relationship is never fun, butPossession
takes the concept of "bad breakup" to some very strange places. How strange? Strange enough that the savage beatings, self-mutilation and murder that erupt in the wake of the disintegration of the relationship at the heart of the film are easily the most relatable things about it. After all, most of us can imagine a breakup gone so wrong that violence plays a part, but a breakup that leads to illicit monster sex in an eerily empty apartment? Not so much. Chances are good you've never seen anything quite like this movie; once you've seen it, you can decide if that was a good or bad thing.
See Possession at 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 2 at Crash 45, but get there by 6:30 to find a seat and order drinks. Admission is free, but booze isn't, so plan accordingly. For more information, visit the Cruel Autumn Facebook page.
8) The Circus Emporium Cabaret It's just not the Christmas season without a combination circus sideshow and haunted house in a bar, right? Okay, maybe not, but if you need a break from the Santa-infused schmaltz of the season, you could do a lot worse than this extravaganza featuring the Enigma, Serana Rose, Shea FreeLove and Bloodshed Deathbath. Everything from burlesque performers to a hand-picked assortment of sideshow oddities chosen to fit the theme of the haunted house will be there, all but assuring that you won't have to think about your holiday shopping or the cloying taste of eggnog even once all night. Of course, if you absolutely do need to do some shopping, there's nothing stopping you from picking up a few unique gifts from the assortment of weird and wild vendors on hand.
From now until the new year, tired music, forced cheer and gaudy decorations are the order of the day, and scrooge you if you don't like it. If you do like it, or maybe are just suffering from the holiday version of Stockholm Syndrome, you may as well immerse yourself neck-deep in the kitsch with a horrible holiday sweater and a screening of the god-awful Christmas catastrophe that isSanta Claus Conquers The Martians
. "Popularized," if you can call it that, by the crew ofMystery Science Theater 3000
, it's a film bad enough it doesn't even need the help -- it's so ridiculous it basically makes fun of itself. Your ugliest sweater might win a prize, and whether your sweater wins or loses, everyone who survives the torturous film will have the song "Hooray for Santa Claus" forevermore seared into their brains as a bonus.
There are only a handful of Christmas movies that qualify as geek movies, and Joe Dante'sGremlins
tops that list. A cheerful tale of holiday cheer and cute critters that turn into murderous monsters, this '80s classic is just as much fun today as it was when leg warmers were a thing. Just remember, it's a midnight movie, so if you bump into any of those adorable Mogwai bastards in the theater, don't feed them. It won't end well for anyone if you do.
5) Krampus Nacht Denver Santa Claus knows if you've been bad or good, and that means most of us are screwed. Forget that fat, judgmental elf and revel in your badness at Krampus Nacht Denver, a holiday festival celebrating a malicious demon who punished bad children, updated into a bacchanal for those who find it too damn hard to be good. The evening includes a musical set from the Mark Putt Holiday Explosion, body painting by Mythica, performance art troupe Bohemia's Krampus Nacht pageant in three acts and lots more. Dress up as a sexy Mrs. Claus or Krampus himself to win a $100 cash prize, or just go to enjoy the naughtiness.
The festivities start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 6 at the Oriental Theater. Presale tickets are $20, or $17.50 if two or more are purchased, slightly higher at the door. For tickets and more info, visit the Krampus Nacht Denver website.
When legendary director Alex Cox (Repo Man
,Sid and Nancy
,Straight to Hell
and more) adapts legendary science fiction author Harry Harrison (The Stainless Steel Rat
andMake Room, Make Room!
, the story adapted intoSoylent Green
), you can expect something special. Here he's adapting Harrison'sBill the Galactic Hero
, a scathing sci-fi satire of the military and what it does to the poor suckers conscripted into its service. Created on a shoestring budget with a cast and crew made up almost entirely of University of Colorado students,Bill
marks a return to the punk-rock film ethos on which Cox built his sterling reputation, and its story of ordinary men ground into the machinery of war has never been more timely. Cox himself will be on hand to introduce the film, making this a once-in-a-lifetime chance for fans.
See Bill the Galactic Hero Friday, December 12 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m in the Muenzinger Auditorium. Tickets are $8, or $7 for CU students and seniors. For more information, visit the Bill the Galactic Hero event page of the IFS website.
3) New Horizons to the Pluto System Just because Pluto was downgraded from full planet status doesn't mean there isn't a lot to learn from it. NASA's New Horizons mission was launched in 2006 and slated to fly by the icy dwarf planet early next year, before continuing on to the Kuiper Belt to see what kind of trouble it can get up to out there. In the meantime, listen to Dr. S. Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, explain the history, science and expectations of the mission. You can't get any closer to the source without making the trip yourself, and that may be a ways off.
Join local author and Hugo-award winner Jason Heller and co-host Frank Romero for a special 35mm presentation of the cult classicHeavy Metal
. The animated film adaptation of the underground comic magazine features all the mind-warping science fiction, graphic sex, violence and fuck-you attitude of the source material, paired the voice talents of John Candy, Eugene Levy and more. With eye-popping visuals, an unparalleled soundtrack and more than half a dozen tales of a high weirdness tied to a strange alien artifact,Heavy Metal
is a one-of-a-kind animated feature, the likes of which we're not likely to see again soon, if ever.
It wouldn't be Christmas in Denver without the yuletide tradition ofBlack Christmas
. The legendary proto slasher follows a group of sorority sisters who are hunted by a demented killer who's closer than any of them can imagine. Director Bob Clark -- the same man behindA Christmas Story
, a very different kind of holiday horror -- bridges the gap between the suspense thrillers that preceded it and the slasher genre born in its wake, and an all-star cast -- including John Saxon, Margot Kidder and Olivia Hussey -- make this a holiday horror classic for the ages.
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